4 WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR MORNING TRAINING
Unless you’re a morning person, training first thing can be a very big ask.
But training early in the morning is a very popular way to get your exercise in. It’s the one time of day when you still have control of your schedule, and there’s a lot to be said for starting the day off with a nice shot of endorphins.
Here are 4 things you can do straight away to get the most out of your morning workout.
1. SPLASH SOME COLD WATER ON YOUR WRISTS AND FACE
When you awake, you’re still utilising your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). PNS is also referred to as the ‘rest and digest’ mode, meaning that you bodily functions slow down and you are in recovery from the previous day’s activities.
If you’re going to train first thing in the morning, you want to be using your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). SNS, also known as the ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is when your body is most switched on. Your muscles are ready to react and you are most primed for performance.
Splashing cold water on your face and wrists is a very simple way to transition from PNS to SNS, thereby getting your body awake and primed to get the most out of your A.M. session.
2. EAT AFTER YOUR SESSION, NOT BEFORE
Nutrient timing is always important for maximising results, but it’s especially important when training in the morning.
When you eat, your body will automatically revert to ‘rest and digest’ mode. If you eat before your training session, you’ll be limiting your results because all the blood that should be going to the extremities (i.e. your arms and legs) will instead be largely diverted to your stomach for digestion.
To get the most out of morning training, make sure you train in a fasted state. Your results will improve because of it, and your breakfast afterwards will never taste better!
3. KEEP THE SESSIONS HIGH INTENSITY, USING YOUR FULL BODY
To maximise your morning training, make sure you complete the most efficient workout possible.
To get the biggest training ‘bang for your buck’, consider the following when putting your workout together:
- Negative rests to increase intensity (working longer than you are resting): this is important because it will prompt your body to adapt to the challenges you create. If you allow your heart rate to drop too low, you won’t achieve the same benefits and your body will eventually stop changing. Keep it intense by keeping the rests shorter than the workout periods.
- Full-body, complex movements (exercises using more than one joint): because time usually is not on your side first thing in the morning, it’s important to maximise the time available. Choose exercises that use multiple muscle groups. You’ll burn more energy during the session, as well as developing more lean muscle mass in the process.
- Circuit training: Circuit training is very beneficial first thing in the morning because it limits required recovery time i.e. while one muscle group is recovering another one is working. By varying the exercises and arranging a circuit you will achieve a full-body intense session with minimal time resting.
For an example of a 20-minute full body circuit workout, click here.
4. HYDRATE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Hydration is a vital component of any training session (for more information on the benefits of hydration click here for our previous blog post). But when you’ve just woken up, it may not be the first thing in your mind.
To make sure you are fully hydrated for the morning, start drinking water the night before (in fact, make it a habit to consume water regularly throughout the day). By making sure you are fully hydrated, your joints will be more malleable and your body will function better, helping you to perform better during your session and to feel better afterwards.
Training first thing in the morning can be great way to get that workout in before the day goes sideways. With a tiny bit of advanced planning you can become the AM training ninja you always wanted to be!
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham. James focuses on building the best version of you and inspiring you to new levels of health and fitness – regardless of your current ability or age.
James is always keen to share the tools he uses to assist others in achieving their goals and has featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Healthy and Hello! magazines.